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January 29, 2013 - Carrie Olson
When is getting sick comical? To the person affected, I am guessing most likely never. For those certain few that get to witness the atrocity, well, it’s not always a black and white situation.

Today, I headed back to New York City. Getting up at 3:30 a.m. wasn’t fun, but it was do-able. I forgot twice to pick up cash at the ATM while my dad drove me to the Des Moines International Airport. Good thing I remembered it at my layover in Chicago for my taxi ride to Newark Penn Station. Anyhoo, after enduring a long security line, I was ready to get on my flight.

It has been stormy the last couple days in the Midwest, so I figured that a turbulent flight was in store. I was correct. At first, I was okay with the whole situation, as I was able to watch the rolling clouds produce a lightning show below. It wasn’t until halfway through the flight when I heard the dreaded sounds of someone getting sick. That was when the flight started to become a bit bumpier than before, and the violent sick sounds started to become much more vocalized. When I saw that the man producing the sounds was sitting in the same row across the plane, I quickly swiveled my body to the airplane window in panic. I am a person with a sensitive stomach and a much more sensitive mind.

Whenever I see someone else get sick, I immediately follow suit. I put my hand over my mouth and tried to think of anything else. Teddy bears. Rainbows. Beaches. The egg sandwich I just ate, oh no! As hard as I tried, I could not think of anything else but getting sick. The thought kept creeping back in my head as the noise continued from behind my turned body.

While the plane tossed and turned as it began its descent, all I wanted was for this nightmare to stop. One of my biggest fears is getting sick in front of a bunch of strangers.

When I was in my early teens, I almost always passed out at church; and in a Catholic mass, it isn’t hard to do. Stand up, sit down, kneel, and repeat. In between the calisthenics, the sand would pile up in my head. My ears started to ring and I would begin to feel very tired. As the black dots appeared in front of my eyes, I would sway. Many times, I was able to run to the back of the church and out the door.

But not that Christmas Eve when I was in the middle school choir smack dab behind the alter. I was standing in the back singing alto when the sensations started to hit me, but I was unable to descend the risers in time. As I crawled underneath the back bar to the floor, I just laid down on the floor while crowds of people came up for communion. So there was the choir singing “Silent Night” with an easy visual of me lying on the ground behind them. Other people knew that I wasn’t in danger after my choir teacher came to check on me, yet, there I lay. It had to look rather amusing to those sitting in the pews.

As I stand in line for coffee at my layover stop, I feel bad for the man who became so sick on my flight. Yet, the only visual I can see is me dry heaving in the next aisle, desperately pressing my face to the plane window – hoping for some escape.


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